Augustana students spend winter in the Cascade Mountains
From press release
ROCK ISLAND, Ill.—Nineteen adventurous students from Augustana College will make a cross-country trek Jan. 3, 2010, ending in Holden Village in the Cascade Mountains. The students and three faculty members will spend five weeks living and studying in Holden, a tight-knit mountain community with no phones, television or roads connecting to the outside world.
Area students participating in the trek include the following: Sean J. Carmody, Rockford, a junior majoring in English and history; James S. Johannsen, Rockford, a junior majoring in English with a writing emphasis; Ryan A. Johnson, Poplar Grove, Ill., a junior majoring in business administration; and Jason N. Lindberg, Caledonia, Ill., a juinor majoring in biology.
The trip begins with a two-day journey on Amtrak, a three-hour ferry ride and a slow, 10-mile bus ride up mountain switchbacks. “I became really interested in the trip when I found out we would be taking a cross-country train ride to get to the village,” said Andrew Ehrhardt, a junior history education major from Schaumburg, Ill. “To me, that is an adventure in and of itself.”
At Holden, students will take two English classes, a theater class, and a class about the history of Holden. They can also take cross-country skiing lessons and a course in the art of letter-writing. Without phones or e-mail, the students will depend on postcards and letters to stay in touch with family and friends back home.
Dr. Jan Keessen, one of the English professors who will be teaching on-site, said: “There are no typical days at Holden. Holden Village attracts everyone from scholars to musicians to artists to ecologists, who bring their skills to contribute to the community. When students are not in class, they might take a sleigh ride, weave a basket, power a dishwasher with a bicycle, discuss religion, listen to a harmonica player, spin yarn or go sledding.
Keessen added, “Holden is a risky place for anyone who is frightened by spontaneity or afraid to take a chance on learning creatively, with passion and courage.”
English professor Dr. Paul Olsen and theater professor Dr. Melissa McBain will also teach in Holden. Olsen has served on the Holden board of directors for 12 years, has taught summer courses in Holden since 1987 and is the summer teaching staff coordinator. McBain is also eager to return to Holden.
“What I experienced my first summer in Holden was magical and inspiring,” she said. “Over the course of one day, I led a sunrise devotional, taught a playwriting class, attended exciting discussions, performed scenes from my play-in-progress and ended the day singing with new friends.”
Many students were attracted to the program because of the variety of people and activities in Holden. “I think it will be rejuvenating to wake up each morning away from the routine life of a student, with endless possibilities of adventure waiting right outside my door,” said Ehrhardt. The students will return to Augustana Feb. 6, 2010.
Holden Village is a Lutheran retreat center run largely by volunteers who hosts guests of all ages and religious backgrounds year round. Some guests visit Holden for just a few days, while others, like the Augustana students, stay for an extended length of time. For more information about Holden, visit www.holdenvillage.org/.
Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls nearly 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 60 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 226 faculty and has a student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. Augustana continues to do what it always has done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.
From the Dec. 30, 2009 – Jan. 5, 2010 issue
Print This Article